We begin our journey
from Eilean Hoan to Ullapool,
angling over these mountains
scarred by ice, billowing
across rivers which bleed
into lakes whose monsters
are more terrible
than the depths that succour them.
Curling sunlight pools
in the clumsy pleats stitched
into the tough skin of the planet,
snowy islands blot the snake black streams.
Could we see ourselves slot
into the nakedness of that place,
imagine the music made there,
storms drumming the highest points,
bird strings startling the sky?
Who listens here hears perhaps only one thing.
And so we drift downwards
to where grasses flourish,
to where sheep inherit
a tracery of pathways.
We could suck the air out of here
with one kiss, ignore cosmology,
wrap ourselves tightly
around each others’ lives;
or, when landscape yields
spilling over curved cliffs
to tormented sands,
and out into the North Atlantic
where earth is sunk in the ocean
without contour or creed,
without route or reason,
without signpost or ship;
where the force of truth
is all about us
could you and I land
on that blank island
in this sea and be ‘we’?
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